Aid Given to Haitian Seminarians

Earthquake Death Toll Rises to 300,000

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, FEB. 24, 2010 ( Church leaders in Haiti are expressing gratitude for the aid given by donors worldwide, especially for seminarians who survived the Port-au-Prince earthquake.

Aid to the Church in Need reported today that it has been able to give $100,000 to help destitute diocesan seminarians who were left homeless after the Jan. 12 quake.

Archbishop Louis Kébreau of Cap-Haïtien, president of the Haitian bishops’ conference, sent a letter to the agency earlier this week to express “deepest gratitude” on behalf of the prelates and seminarians.

The agency gave another $70,000 in emergency aid for other needs of the Church.

The archbishop wrote: “True love is compassionate. Your kind gesture gives us the strength and hope to build and unite our efforts to carry on.”

He affirmed, “God is love, truth and justice and he wants us to create a new civilization, one of love.”

In another message to Aid to the Church in Need, the apostolic nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, explained that over 200 seminarians are being helped after the seminary was destroyed in the disaster.

Some 26 seminarians were killed in the quake, including 10 from the Montfortian order who died when their minibus was crushed by rubble.

Relief program

Archbishop Auza reported to the agency that the donations have been used for a “wide-ranging emergency relief program” that is giving rice and beans to the displaced Haitians as well as other hand-outs through the local parishes.

He underlined the “huge task” of reconstruction that will take decades to complete.

The agency stated that new reports are describing damage that is much greater than previously estimated. On Monday, the Haitian president, René Préval, stated that the final death toll will probably reach 300,000, much higher than previous estimates.

The nuncio said that the relief program is attempting to spark commercial activity for long-term growth, and pay for the schooling of Haitian children in a nearby diocese where the damage was less.

He reported that a temporary chancery is being erected at the site where the archdiocesan offices and cathedral were demolished.

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